The cyber attack on Epsilon may be the largest case of identity theft in U.S history. Companies such as Capital One, Walgreens and Best Buy are sending out millions of e-mails, warning customers their names and e-mail addresses may be in the hands of hackers.
Pierluigi Stella, CTO at Houston-based Network Box USA, sees the speed with which such companies responded to the breach as a positive development.
“I’ve been doing this job for nine years now, and initially what we would see in a situation like this is that everybody would try to hide it. And I have to say very frankly that it was just appalling that companies would try to hide that they had been breached, because they didn’t want their image to be compromised, and by doing so, they were risking compromising their customers even more. The reaction in this case has been immediate and very plaudible [sic.].”
Stella says the Epsilon attack will probably prove less costly than the 2008 assault on credit- and debit-card processor Heartland Payment Systems. That case saw the theft of more than 40 million payment card numbers.